As the end of the year draws near, it’s a traditional time for reflection and new beginnings.
Some of those occasions are joyful and others are bittersweet.
It’s at this time of year that we often say goodbye to some longtime elected leaders who either chose not to run for reelection or who were unseated.
Whether it’s time for someone to leave or they are departing office before they had wanted, anyone who makes the sacrifice for public service deserves respect and appreciation for their willingness to make this community a better place to live.
The Tri-Cities will see some significant changes to the elected landscape as the new year dawns.
In Kennewick, the city council honored Bob Olson this week for his 28 years of service. Olson lost his bid for re-election in November and was attending his last council meeting. The council voted to name a new road in the Southridge area the Bob Olson Parkway.
His peers said it is a fitting tribute for Olson, given the many transportation projects Olson worked on during his time on commissions and the council over the past several decades.
Olson was praised for his passion for Kennewick.
Vic Johnson is another man with a long history of service who is leaving his position on the board of the Kennewick Public Hospital District.
Johnson, who first joined the board in 1998, lost his bid for reelection in a contentious race.
The district’s finance were a major issue in the race following the construction of the Trios Southridge Hospital, as was the polarized nature of the board members. Johnson was seen as a member of the established old guard, and voters decided it was time for a change.
Johnson has been a tireless volunteer and an extremely competent board member, and his depth of knowledge will be missed.
In Richland, it’s the school board that sees the departure of two longtime members. Mary Guay opted not to run for another term, and Phyllis Strickler was not re-elected.
The school district held a reception earlier this month to honor the women for their service.
For those taking over in the various positions, the shoes are big ones. Learn from your predecessors’ successes and failures. Be the kind of bold and thoughtful leaders who always place the mission at hand and the best interests of those you serve at the forefront.